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Students explore health care careers at WISER and UPMC
Students explore health care careers at WISER and UPMC

The Center for Inclusion at UPMC helped bring enthusiastic high school students face-to-face with SimMan® and SimBaby® at the WISER during the 11th annual The Future Is Mine Student Leadership Conference in Oakland this April. In one of many community collaborations, the Center for Inclusion teamed with the Consortium for Public Education, which sponsors the conference, to promote career exploration. Of the conference attendees, 16 students chose to explore careers in health care at UPMC.

Students gathered at Forbes Tower in Oakland for presentations and conversation with Wendeline Grbach, curriculum developer, UPMC School of Nursing, who discussed clinical and research careers. Natalie Bell, a recruiter for UPMC Corporate Services, introduced students to careers in hospital administration, and Melissa Wanker, coordinator of Simulation Services, provided background on simulation in medical education.

"The presentations really gave me a grasp of how many different professions there are in the medical field," said Bhavani Patel, a student at Gateway High School.

After lunch, students were treated to a tour of WISER, where they were introduced to the sophisticated medical education software and interactive technology used in the SimMan mannequins. WISER applies simulation-based education to train medical professionals in realistic patient-care scenarios, decision making, and emergency treatment.

"Through education programs such as this careers conference, we are helping to prepare students early on, making them aware and offering insight into what's available in the world of health careers," says Winifred Torbert, program director of K-12 Initiatives, Center for Inclusion at UPMC. "In this way, UPMC is building a pipeline of health care staff, a strategy to meet our regional workforce needs."

By every measure the day was a success, perhaps summed up best by Matthew Uhring of East Allegheny High School, a student interested in media and public relations. "My goal is to come to UPMC and work one of these days," he said.